X2: Castle Amber (Chateau d'Amberville)... hold on, is this module French!?
Today I’m going to take a look at the artwork from TSR’s X2: Castle Amber (Chateau d’Amberville). Now I’ve only played this module once, back in probably 1987 in my little room upstairs at my mom’s house with my old DM Mark and his neighbors Aaron and Jay.
Truly, I don’t remember too much about the adventure save that it was one of the first ones where I ever ran one of my most powerful characters of all time, the eventual Hierophant of Cabal, Belmarillian the Watcher.
There is a room [spoilers follow] in which characters are beset by mysterious dreams, and Belmarillian dreamed of some goddess of birds and awoke the next morning with huge angel-like wings. That was pretty cool to my 16 year-old self, but other than that, I have no recollection of the module or its resolution.
I do, however, remember well the Erol Otus ‘giant attack’ cover, and truly this might be my favorite module piece he did. There is some great action in it, and the muted color that mixes so well with the design pigment of the cover really make it ‘pop’ in my minds-eye.
The module itself was produced in 1981 [as Erol’s cover would indicate] and the interior artists include some stunning work by Harry Quinn as well as Jim Roslof and Jim Holloway.
These interior black and white illustrations are a very, very nice mix of style and bleed well into one another throughout. Roslof is at his height here and Holloway is working for love and not money which I think translates into some of the more refined levity of his images.
In all, I’m incredibly taken with the artwork of X2, and give it some of the highest marks I can for a module of its day.
Artistic Rating: 4 [out of 5]